Video: Meet John Urschel Football was His Passion; but Math is his Lifes Work

Jan 15, 2019 | Richmond BC


“Math is truly a beautiful, beautiful thing, and it's a powerful tool in that we all make quantitative decisions every day.” 

These are the words of former NFL offensive lineman and current M.I.T. Math Ph.D. student John Urschel.  We have shared Urschel story in the past, but a recent feature by CBS This Morning Saturday brought his story back into the spotlight.  

Urschel was a star athlete at Penn State.  There he earned a bachelors and two masters before being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens.  However, after three years in the NFL he walked away from the game completely to finish his Math Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Urschel’s passion to pursue his math studies was not the only reason he drew the attention of the team at Mathnasium of Tallahassee. 

Urschel’s philosophies surrounding math and problem solving, in all aspects of life, line up with the Mathnasium Method.  In fact, during his time in Baltimore, he volunteered as a tutor at the Mathansium in Roland Park, MD, and embraced and endorsed the Mathnasium Method.

In his interview with CBS, Urschel acknowledges the impact of his math education and pursuit of higher studies in breaking down stereotypes regarding athletes and minorities.

"If you have dreams, if you have goals, don't shut these things down. Don't fit into certain stereotypes. Don't think you can't have multiple aspirations," he said. "Life's too short. It's too short to settle and to live someone else's dream."

Urschel’s is more than just passionate about math and studying math.  He is passionate about inspiring others to find the fun in the math education and learning, along with hopefully igniting a spark in younger students to find the beauty of math. 

Wath as Urschel describes his experience with Mathnasium and the math tutoring programs offered for students in elementary, middle and high school: